Prosecutors on Thursday charged a 38-year-old man with trying to kill his wife and two young sons at the family’s west Wichita home earlier this week.
Pettix McMillan faces three counts of attempted first-degree murder in Monday’s shooting of his 36-year-old wife and the couple’s boys, ages 5 and 13, in the 300 block of North Parkdale, near Central and Maize. He is accused in a criminal complaint of intentionally firing rounds at the trio, striking his wife and older son in the torso and his younger son in the head. All survived and were hospitalized.
McMillan listened quietly as Sedgwick County District Court Judge Joe Kisner advised him of the charges during his first appearance Thursday afternoon.
At what would have been the conclusion of the hearing, McMillan stepped away from a podium set up in Sedgwick County Jail, where inmates make their first appearances via a video link broadcast into Sedgwick County Courthouse.
He then paused and returned before the camera, confusion apparent on his face.
“What am I charged with again? Murder?” McMillan asked. He was dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit.
“Yes,” Kisner said. “Three counts of attempted murder in the first degree.
“Would you like me to review those (charges)?”
“Yes,” McMillan replied. He became increasingly emotional over the subsequent minutes, wiping his eyes at one point as a summary of the allegations against him emerged.
Wichita police said earlier this week that neighbors called 911 to report the shooting after McMillan’s wife and 13-year-old boy ran from the house seeking help about 9 p.m. When officers arrived, they found the gunman gone. The woman and boys all had gunshot wounds to their upper torsos or heads and were rushed to a local hospital for treatment.
With the help of search dogs, officers located McMillan in a wooded area near Cowskin Creek about two hours later and took him into custody near Central and Maize following a brief foot chase.
Police have said an argument between the couple about an older child who does live at the house reportedly preceded the attack. Wichita police Lt. Randy Reynolds told The Eagle on Tuesday that each of the victims was targeted.
The couple’s older children, ages 16 and 20, were not at the house at the time of the shooting. A Via Christi Hospital St. Francis house supervisor said Thursday afternoon that the woman and 13-year-old boy had been discharged. He did not have information on the 5-year-old’s condition.
McMillan remained in jail in lieu of $1 million bond Thursday night on the attempted murder charges. He is due back in court April 10 for a preliminary hearing.
Prosecutors said in the criminal complaint if McMillan is convicted they plan to argue for a heftier prison sentence than usually doled out in attempted-murder cases because the boys were “particularly vulnerable due to age, infirmity, or reduced physical or mental capacity” and because of the relationship of trust that existed between the father and his sons.
Records show McMillan has been arrested three times since January and charged with misdemeanor domestic violence in Wichita Municipal Court. He reportedly fired a gun inside the house during one of those incidents. A protection from abuse order also had been filed against him, but it expired in February.
On an financial affidavit filed with the court Thursday, McMillan wrote that he was employed by a local trucking company but had not yet received his first paycheck. He will receive counsel from a court-appointed attorney.